IMG_0128_smWell, Blackpool came and went as Blackpools do. We had a good one; sales were steady, we met old friends and several Sheffield magicians, saw a great show and half a good one, and even got in a bit of dancing (magic can take a variety of forms).

After an initial surge on Friday morning sales slumped somewhat for the rest of the day, although there was a constant demand for our update sheets. They must have had some effect because (despite the fact that I’d managed to miss Bolted! off the list) we had a steady stream of customers through Saturday and Sunday.

Talking of Bolted!, this was a definite hit. Jared zipped across the Coronation Street set (a popular TV programme about people who shout at each other a lot, I understand) and demonstrated virtually non-stop… including in the Ruskin at night.

Since Blackpool he’s been working hard to produce more and we now have additional stock. Please note that Bolted! is a precision-made item, each one being produced and hand-finished to a high tolerance (vital in card magic) so orders are being dealt with in strict rotation. As I write they’re available off the shelf, but to judge by the number of enquiries coming in, this situation is unlikely to last long. Ring or email if you’re interested.

In case you didn’t go to Blackpool and missed the buzz, here’s the promo:

Different Decks from Magick

A good convention in Blackpool with lots of interest in our new products (and quite a few sales too). More information  later, but in the meantime, for all those who’ve been asking for ‘designer decks’ here’s a selection from the range we currently have in stock.

And for professional magicians, we sell proper Bicycle cards too.

Well, it’s been a while since I posted here. There are times when blogs, and business, have to take second place to more important matters.

In company with a group of like-minded Loungers I did take a little time off at the beginning of February to spend An Evening of Metaphysical Magic with Dr Todd. Described as an ‘evening of brain-boggling investigations into the universe, reality and the inner workings of the mind’, this was a delightful mix of mentalism, bizarre and story-telling magic presented in the Milton Theatre at Huddersfield University. If Dr Todd comes your way, don’t miss him!

Can’t tell you too much about this year’s Blackpool Convention as I missed most of it. I drove over on the Thursday afternoon and set up. On Thursday evening I went to see La Clique (‘a heady cocktail of cabaret, new burlesque, circus sideshow and contemporary variety’) in the evocative environs of Blackpool’s Tower Circus. Great show.

This, incidentally, was part of the Showzam festival. Showzam was a highlight for me last year and with the billed vintage sideshow illusions, Carnesky’s Ghost Train, ‘Heat the Streets’, etc., it looked set to repeat its success. Among the new events were the Magic Show exhibition at the Grundy Art Gallery, a Hayward touring show I caught in Derby a couple of months ago (see below); and Ukulelescope, a collaboration between the magnificent Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and the British Film Institute. Tim Smithies, street-magician, axe-juggler and renowned uke-dude had swung us tickets for this. I hear ’twas a plucking good night.

Sadly I was called away on urgent family matters shortly after opening on Friday afternoon, leaving the stand in the dextrous hands of the inimitable Roger Curzon (his new DVD VideoBook Pentalism was a hit). Many thanks to Roger and several other Loungers at the Convention for giving up some of their time to help with manning the stand and packing and returning things to Sheffield. Indeed thanks to all our friends and customers for the many kind comments and offers of help at a difficult time.

In the Lounge yesterday: Roni Shachnaey, Roger Curzon and Peter Zenner enjoying a traditional Magic Lounge lunch and discoursing widely on mentalism, cold reading, and bizarre magick, at one end of the room. At the other end Steve Brownley nimbly ranged over Marlo and recent Blackpool bar stunners… with historical perspectives and excellent biscuits from Les Johnson.

Seems to have been a resurgence of interest again in the Rings. Thanks to Todd Karr for this link. Though probably more Jackie Chan than Dai Vernon…

And let’s not forget the Weekly Wheeze this time or I’ll get more complaints…

So Adam says to the Gym instructor, “Can you teach me to do the splits?”

“How flexible are you?” he asks.

Adam replies, “I can’t make Thursdays.”

Another packed Saturday in the Magick Lounge. Adam Bell was in to regale us with tales of his close-up capers at London’s Connaught Rooms, co-starring with regular Loungers John Martin and Adie Hurley. I understand that they were called upon to entertain the likes of Des O’Connor, Max Clifford, Theo Paphitis (Dragon’s Den), Bobby Davro, Sinitta, Tim Vine, and some bloke from the popular beat combo Blue. The things these celebrities have to do in the name of charity… Unfortunately the lads had to share a dressing room with The Pink Ladies, but otherwise they were well looked after.

Jim Critchlow was in, describing his experience of being shown his own trick White Star one night in the Ruskin at Blackpool, under a different name, by a magician claiming it as his own. Now Jim is a pretty self-effacing sort of guy, but as it happened there were a number of people around who knew him and were able to point out the unmissable similarities in a polite but direct manner…

Which brings Roger Curzon to mind. Here’s him performing one of his Curzon Envelope routines. Thanks to Lounger Mark Perkins for the video.

This is Roger’s Dream Card routine, which appears in Blood on the Tricks, and also as a supplement to the Miracle Signed Card in Envelope book. The effect was originally released in 1988.

I could go on, and frequently do. But I’ll sign off for now with this week’s Adam’s Weekly Wheeze:

“My Mate’s in hospital from sniffing curry powder. He’s in a korma.”

Blackpool Convention over again for another year. A little late with these notes, but the toes of our return are always trodden upon by the urgency of orders to be filled, queries to be caught and answered.

So what was the hit of the convention? Difficult to say when you spend most of your time behind the stand. The buzz around a hit trick? If there was, I didn’t hear it. The card cognoscenti, of course, cut straight to our stand to pick up their copy of the long-awaited (and glowingly-reviewed) The Magic of Fred Robinson. Author Peter Duffie was on hand for a time to sign a few copies too.

The book costs £75 and is beautifully produced, with illustrations by Paul Griffin and Roy Johnson. An inspired tribute to one of the greatest sleight-of-hand magicians the world has ever known. “I state without fear of exaggerating that Fred was one of the all-time greats, expecially with cards,” — Dai Vernon.

When stocks were delivered only a few weeks ago on three hefty pallets I was somewhat concerned about where we’d find space in our bulging stock-rooms. I needn’t have worried; we’ve been shipping copies daily from the studio here as fast as our despatch department (my sister, June) can pack them.

I seem to have a propensity for producing things that a number of discerning purchasers love, and many more have no interest in. (I remember some years ago a certain well-known dealer advising me that my problem was that I put out stuff that I would wish to buy, not stuff that would necessarily sell to the average magician. Whatever that is.) Seem to have done it again with the Magic Media Studio — a collection 101 tracks of royalty-free music for magicians, children’s entertainers. Supplied complete with an easy-to-use audio editor for £20, those who need it will want it.

Lots more to say; I haven’t even mentioned headless women, and three-foot trolls and fire engines belching fire in the Blackpool streets… That’ll have to wait until next time. I have to get back to work on editing a DVD by one of the true magic greats. Watch this space!